Career Framework & Pay Structure

The SKAO is growing rapidly to deliver its mission. In the coming years, the Observatory promises to have a major impact in science, society, and beyond, and now more than ever it is important to build the capability needed to meet our future challenges, not only as an organisation but also as individuals.

To help with this it is essential that staff have access to a career structure that is transparent and supports development and career progression. Staff need to know where they sit within the overall structure and Career Levels in order to be able to see what paths are available to them as they develop in their role and career with the SKAO.

Our Career Framework provides transparency to existing staff and new recruits so that it is easy to see what competencies are expected, how their role is graded, where they personally fit within the levels relevant to that role, and the possibilities for career progression with SKAO. The Career Framework will help everyone at SKAO make the most of their potential.

What is the Career Framework?

The Career Framework consists of 4 job families and 13 career levels (1-13) spanning all the current and foreseen roles at SKAO.

Science roles: shape the scientific goals, specifications and operations of the Observatory, leading and engaging with the scientific community and translating scientific aims and objectives into clear specifications and capabilities.

Engineering and Technical roles: construct, operate and maintain the Observatory. This includes building and operating a range of physical or software systems to deliver the observatory functions.

Project Management roles: facilitate the construction and delivery of the Observatory, primarily concerned with the delivery of project and programme objectives within a variety of specialist fields.

Enabling roles: enable and drive the mission of the Observatory, facilitating the working of the Observatory as well as its positioning on the global Research Infrastructure scene through strategic planning, international relations, communications and public awareness, and the provision of specialist professional services and support.

Job Families levels

Career Levels descriptors

Career Progression

One of the distinct aspects of the Career Framework is that individual roles will span more than one career level, based on the broad accountabilities and level at which there is scope for that role to operate. A Career Map has been developed to provide transparency and visibility of a set of generic roles in the Observatory and the levels these roles may span.

Individuals are placed within the range for their role based on the level at which they are consistently operating. This means that in the vast majority of cases there may be scope to develop skills and grow accountabilities in order to progress to a higher level. This process is called progressional promotion and reflects the increased capability and competency displayed in a consistent and sustained way. Promotions of this nature will generally result in a salary increase in line with the pay structure as laid out below.

Another mechanism to progress within SKAO will be to apply for and be appointed to a new role which has been advertised. This could entail a sideways move into a new role at the same level that may provide further opportunity to progress as illustrated below, or you could move into a new role at a higher level. Progression to a higher career level will generally result in a salary increase, in line with the pay range for that level.

Pay Structure

Our Pay Structure is aligned to our Career Framework structure with a range of salary associated for each career level. Aligning pay ranges to each Career Level has the benefit of ensuring each individuals pay is aligned to their job size ensuring a fair and consistent approach to pay across the Observatory.

Our pay approach recognises the varying cost of living and local market salaries in each of our locations and is reviewed yearly in line with our annual pay review process. The tables below indicate basic salary only, prior to any statutory deductions for local or internal taxation. The figures quoted do not include any cost of benefits provided in any of our locations which contribute considerable to the overall compensation package value.

2024 Pay Ranges UK

*Only applies to specifically identified roles which require scarce skills which are in high market demand

2024 Pay Ranges ZA

*Only applies to specifically identified roles which require scarce skills which are in high market demand

2024 Pay Ranges AUS

*Only applies to specifically identified roles which require scarce skills which are in high market demand